Injured in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina? Are you facing growing medical expenses, enduring physical pain, emotional suffering and losing income due to being unable to work? Under South Carolina personal injury law you may be eligible for benefits and financial compensation for your injuries. It is imperative that you consult with an experienced Greenville motorcycle accident lawyer.
Biases In Motorcycle Accident Claims
South Carolina is a very scenic state that enjoys a relatively mild climate. With that, it is a beautiful place to ride motorcycles. With summer upon us and the increasing number of motorcyclists on our roads, there inevitably will be accidents resulting in serious injuries. Lawyers who represent motorcyclists must remember that motorcycle accident claims can involve issues of bias that are not present in accidents and trucking accident cases. To get the best result for an injured motorcyclist, your motorcycle accident attorney must be cognizant of these bias issues from the very beginning of the case and address them in a thoughtful but aggressive way.
There are three very common biases that work against motorcyclists. They are that motorcycles are:
1) Hard to see
2) Driven too fast
3) Operated by reckless young people, adrenaline junkies or unruly gang members
These biases arise from a small number of encounters with motorcyclists who drive irresponsibly. Most motorcyclists are like other drivers. They operate with due care for the safety of themselves and others. Unfortunately, we forget all of the careful motorcyclists when we see that one person who speeds crazily, weaving in and out of traffic, and passes recklessly on the right or in a no passing zone. This reckless driver is the one who shapes our opinion of all motorcyclists. These people and events are memorable because watching them is upsetting. They make us feel unsafe and defensive around motorcycles. In the end, we see motorcycles as annoying and they trigger strong negative emotions.
Overcoming jury and witness bias requires identifying the negative factors in each particular case, separating them, and rebutting each one with solid proof and arguments. The “hard to see” bias arises from the fact that motorcycles are generally small and the ones we remember may seem to “come out of nowhere.” Overcoming this bias is likely to require photographs and diagrams of the scene and careful measurement of the relevant distances and sight lines. Video evidence may demonstrate how easily the defendant could have seen the motorcycle if he had been attentive. Statements of witnesses that the motorcycle was in the right place and visible may be available and should be aggressively sought.
The “driven too fast” bias arises from the fact that motorcycles are often loud. Witnesses who are called upon to testify about speed may mistakenly assume that there is a direct link between noise and velocity. Evidence such as skid marks, crush damage to the vehicles involved, and testimony about the timing of related events may be helpful in overcoming mistaken assumptions about speed. Combining witness testimony with time, speed and distance formulas can rebut suggestions of speeding or unsafe driving.
The “wild, bad people” bias may be the easiest one to overcome. Testimony from treating doctors, people at the scene, co-workers, friends, family and from the injured victim himself are the best sources of evidence to humanize a client and separate him from unfair and harmful stereotypes.
The arguments described above for overcoming jury bias against motorcyclists are fact-based arguments. In addition to these arguments, a well-prepared lawyer will use pre-trial motions and basic jury instructions to protect his or her client. Every juror can relate to the “Rules of the Road.” South Carolina law states that every motorist must use ordinary care at all times for his safety and for the safety of others; that a driver has a duty to see that which is open and apparent; that a driver must operate his vehicle at a speed as to be able to avoid any visible obstruction; that a driver must respect others’ rights-of-way; and that a driver may not turn a vehicle or move left on a road unless the movement can be made with reasonable safety. These rules can and must be stressed from jury selection through closing argument in any trial of a motorcycle accident case.
Pre-trial motions are also an important part of the fight against jury bias. Before a lawyer gets to the factual dispute about such issues as noise, helmet use, tattoos, organization membership, etc., it may be possible to have the court prohibit reference to them on the basis that they are not probative, or that the probative value of the evidence is outweighed by its prejudicial impact. The jury selection process also can be used to identify and remove biased potential jurors.
Thorough investigation and thoughtful case preparation by an experienced Greenville personal injury lawyer who knows what to look for at a motorcycle crash scene and aggressive case preparation of the factual and legal arguments give the injured motorcyclist the best chance to overcome bias among witnesses and jurors, and the best possible chance for a successful outcome in a South Carolina motorcycle accident case.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
While there is little double that increased helmet use could certainly lower the likelihood of motorcycle head injuries, helmets are sadly not required under South Carolina law for motorcycle riders, except if they are under 21-years-old. Although, interestingly, a South Carolina bill was recently introduced that, if passed, would require helmets for all riders.
Other helpful motorcycle safety tips
Helmet use is not the only safety tip that motorcycle riders should adhere to while traversing South Carolina roadways. For example, motorcycle riders should always:
Be conscious of blind spots of other cars and trucks, and not be afraid to honk to make sure other cars are aware of the motorcycle’s presence
Flash brake lights when slowing down as other vehicles often have a hard time of gauging a motorcycle’s speed
Make sure to leave enough space between the motorcycle and other vehicles, as this will permit sufficient time to respond to any erratic driving on the part of other vehicles
Wear long sleeves and thick protective clothing
Sadly, though, no matter how many preventative measures are taken by motorcyclists, it is inevitable that accidents still occur at the hands of other negligent drivers. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a motorcycle collision due to the fault of another, it is often best to seek the counsel of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can aid in investigating the causes of your accident and help outline your rights and options.
Help For Motorcycle Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident and you require legal representation, contact the law firm of Ryan Montgomery, Attorney at Law, LLC, in Greenville, South Carolina. Attorney Ryan Montgomery represents clients throughout Anderson County, Greenville County and Spartanburg County, South Carolina who have been injured in motorcycle accidents.
Mr. Montgomery has been handling personal injury claims for more than a decade and has the experience necessary to handle motorcycle accident claims involving serious or fatal injuries. He understands that serious injuries can result in significant medical bills, lost wages and other significant challenges. He handles each case with meticulous care and vigorously pursues maximum compensation for each client he serves. As a client of Mr. Montgomery, you will have a strong advocate on your side.
Contact Ryan Montgomery, Attorney At Law, LLC
To schedule your free consultation with Greenville motorcycle accident lawyer Ryan Montgomery, call (864) 373-7333. You may also contact him by email about your motorcycle injury.